Cecco Angiolieri (c.1260-1312) S’i’ fosse foco, arderei ’l mondo—Sonnet 86

"If I were fire, I’d burn up the world"

If I were fire, I’d burn up the world;
if I were storm, I’d raise a giant swell
and drown it all; if I were God I’d hurl
this rat’s-ass circus all the way to hell.
If I were pope, how happy I would be!
I’d cheat the Christians blind and suck their blood.
To serve as emperor I might agree,
so I could chop off everybody's head.

If I were death, I’d go to see my dad—
of course with mother I would do the same.
If I were life, I’d run from them like mad.
If I were Cecco, as I was and am,
I’d take the lovely and the lively dames
and leave for you the ugly and the sad.


translation © 1999, 2001 Leonard Cottrell. All rights reserved

main index for rhymed translations


S’i’ fosse foco, arderei ’l mondo;
S’i’ fosse vento, lo tempesteri;
S’i’ fosse acqua, io l’annegherei;
S’i’ fosse Dio, mandareil in profondo.
S’i’ fosse papa, sare’ allor iocondo,
Che tutt'i cristiani imbrigherei;
S’i’ fosse emperator, sa’ che farei?
A tutti mozzarei lo capo a tondo.

S’i’ fosse morte, andarei da mio padre;
S’i’ fosse vita, fuggirei da lui;
Similemente faria da mi’ madre.
S’i’ fosse Cecco com’i’ sono e fui,
Torre le donne piu belle e leggiadre,
E zoppe e laide lascerei altrui.